Update on the progress of the restoration, March 2017

The Project Team delivered another updating session at the Old Actonian Sports Ground on Thursday 30th March. The (very large) download of the presentation slides is available here.

Some significant points arose from the presentation. One is that a Chief Executive of the Community Interest Company which will run the estate has (nearly) been appointed. The Board of Directors has three members at the moment (senior officers from LBs Ealing and Hounslow and the Chair of the Development Trust) and we were told that the other Directors of this company will be recruited soon.

During the questions we learnt that, despite this being part of the plan for many years, the golf course will not be moving to the top of the large field. Apparently there is some discussion of a smaller, more modern, unfenced form of golf being set up instead.

There was a long exchange about the investment in free and open exercise facilities – trim trails, outdoor gym equipment etc – for people who did not want to pay to use the equipment inside the planned sports hub building.

We learnt that Parkguard has been successful in reducing the number of security incidents, and that it was important for park users to report problems.

The latest attempt to offer the Small Mansion and the Stables (either separately or together) to an organisation could take them “off the books” by restoring them and running some appropriate activity in them has not succeeded. The new strategy is to conduct a feasibility study to decide how they could best be used, then to go to potential partners for the detailed discussions. The years of inadequate maintenance now makes restoration very expensive, and both Councils insist they cannot fund this work.

The Business Planning slide showed estimates of 1 million users each year, with half of those using the sports facilities. It showed an estimated increase in visitors to the Museum by 20,000 to 50,000. It showed a projected rise in earned income from £203,250 to £1,275,146 each year, and an increase in Museum and Park staff from 9 to 27 people.

We saw images of progress – for example, the installation of playground equipment near the café, the redesign around Princess Amelia’s grotto, work on establishing the nature trail, work on the Community Kitchen Garden (planned to open shortly), clay from the V&A’s excavations lining the Round Pond, the filling of the new Horseshoe Pond. David Stockdale showed visualisations of the Museum interior and the Carriage display beside the café, and reported on the timetable for the restoration of the Large Mansion, then for the fitting out of the museum displays, with a target for opening in spring 2018.